Friday, April 23, 2010

RIP Christophe Hissette

My baby cousin died today. He was 29 years old, eight years younger than me, has an even younger brother, stood well over six feet tall and certainly towered over me. But to me he is like my baby brother, that I spent many summers with growing up. His name is Christophe Hissette. He was smart and handsome, sweet and funny. He was so kind, and so loving and always knew how to have fun, relax and, not to be cliche because it is the truth, really live life to its fullest. You have to be to be a competitive racer.

Christophe was very tall and thin, only the second in the family to have blond hair and blue eyes. He was a race car driver and he was very good at it too. It was in his blood, it was always what he was destined to be. He'd been driving high powered supped-up go-karts and was obsessed with racing since he was as young as six or seven. He'd won so many awards and races. And he died today, doing what he loved most, racing. In the final lap of a qualifying race his car caught on fire and slammed into a wall going probably 350 kilometers per hour. He died in the helicopter on the way to the hospital.

All I can think about is the little kid I grew up with, the one who always had the Zach Morris Saved By the Bell hair cut. The kid who would try to frame me by telling his mother that I did whatever it was that she was mad at him for doing, in French because he thought I couldn't understand what he was saying, thus provoking typical brother/sister battles on long summer vacations. The kid who spoke French and Spanish and English and Arabic and thought that it was weird that other kids we met on vacations, myself included, couldn't do the same. The boy who would show me how he practiced his tae kwon do in my back yard. Swimming in pools, playing ping pong with him till the wee hours of the night, or blackberry picking on cliffs, walking on the cold beach while on vacation in Brittany. I think of the years of competitive Super Nintendo game playing when Nintendo and Super Nintendo were brand new to the gaming world and sharing one Game Boy between us. Throwing the controllers down when we lost, like we'd been playing for the salvation of all man kind and this was the Big Boss to beat. Hours and hours of Mario Kart, over and over and over. The mountains and seas of Legos we would build ships and cars together. How everywhere we went, even though he was only 7 or 8 or 10 or 11 years old, little girls would swoon over him. All the summer camps, the movies, how he used to call for his mother in a whining tone when I was picking on him and taunting and teasing him as kids. "Maamaaaaaaaa!" And I would taunt and tease him even harder when he called for her.

I'm sorry I ever teased him so mercilessly for his eating a total of exactly five menu items for his entire childhood. Knowing what I know now, I should have been cheering him on for eating at all given the fact that my boys don't eat anything. His repertoire of foods included hamburgers, specifically McDonald's, but just the meat no bread no toppings, and chicken nuggets, but just the dark meat nuggets, and french fries, seedless grapes, never liking soda or fizzy drinks as he called them (gasp!?), and always drinking chocolate milk by the truckloads. In time as an adult he became a much more adventurous eater, but his comfort foods were tried and true.

I remember the summer we spent in Quebec at a resort where we woke up at dawn, went horseback riding, hiking, swimming, canoeing and sailing, played tennis, and then came back to the house for dinner and then went to bed without a peep because we were so exhausted from the days activities, only to get up at dawn the next day. I remember many times sitting together on the floor eating our cereal watching Saturday cartoons and always agreeing on watching The Smurfs because they also translated from French into English so we both understood what was happening. I remember riding horses and splashing in the pool during a long summer in Spain. How he slept like he was running a marathon, always moving, and how that makes me think of my Cameron who does the same thing. How we spend a vacation in Mexico and would walk around at night watching the bats dive and swoop over the pool. How he would always eat the orange ice pops and I would always eat the cherry ones, and there would be a box full of the unwanted green ones left in the freezer. How he adamantly refused to learn how to tie his shoe laces, because velcro sneakers had just come out and why would he need to tie anything if we now had velcro?

I'll never forget the shock of seeing Christophe for the first time after having not seen each other in over ten years. The last time I'd seen Christophe as a kid I still towered over him, but the last time I saw him ever as an adult he towered over me. I didn't even recognize him had I not seen the devilish grin and smart ass mischievous glint in his eyes as he picked us up at the airport. It was surreal to be able to go out to a bar with my baby cousin and get hammered together and stay out all night long. And I regret that life, time and distance kept us from ever rebuilding our lost relationship as cousins, as adults and friends. That we will never get to start it all up again. Christophe has turned out to be an excellent big brother to his little brother Sebastien. And his parents. My heart breaks for them. I don't even know what I could say. My breath is taken away by their loss. Our loss. I am so sorry.

It has taken me all day to figure out how to absorb and put into perspective the news that Christophe is gone even to put into words to talk to friends and family about what has happened. And I think it will take much longer to come to terms that he is gone. We love you Christophe with all our hearts and hope that you always knew that.

This is the news article and comments of friends and fans discussing his passing. He was amazing.

A few pictures I was able to find to scan in, we didn't take many photos when I was a kid. I'm sure there are many more, this is what I could find tonight.


Jennifer said...

Our condolences, Laura. He sounds like an amazing person. ((HUGS)).

wrensmommy said...

i am so sorry.

Seba said...

Definitely something i will start doing from time to time, just for the sake of it, is get a burger at mcdonalds and ask for it 'Plain, just plain. The burger and the bun'

He would also empty the inside of their apple pies coz he only liked the crust. I would eat the filling coz i didnt like the crust :P Strangely one of my fondest memories of my brother.

Hope you guys are okay, big hugs and kisses to you and Cathy.


khaled said...

I've known Christophe for as long as i can remember. He was always the guy who'd make you laugh to the point of tearing up...even if you had a bad day. One day, Christophe and our common friend (Tobie Fasfous - RIP) came up to me and introduced me to racing. I've raced against and partied with christophe ever since. I will never forget the times we've had, both on and off the track.

He was and always be the kindest spirit i'll ever know until the day i join him. Rest in peace old friend...i will continue to wear my helmet, strap in and race.... in your honor

look out for us dude...

Karim said...

Hi Laura,

I'm Karim, one of Christophe's childhood friends, although we parted ways when I left Dubai to France to go to University and move on in life after.

Needless to say I am terribly sadenned by this news. I remember him and his family well - we used to spend all our time together...

I remember the summer in Brittany that you mentionned, since it's at my mother's home town, Douarnenez, that we spent that summer. I can recall us flying kites on the beach, getting our strings into terrible knots :)

He was a great guy, and seems to have grown into a fantastic man!

Big hug,